Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

I'm pretty sure cherries are my favourite fruit. I could eat them all day just as they are. They certainly don't need to be dressed up to make them special, but once in a while it's fun to turn them into something spectacular. Bring on the clafoutis!

This recipe comes from Earth to Tabe by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann. It's a groovy little book with recipes arranged by season and augmented by interesting stories and profiles of farmers and chefs. It's also Canadian, so what more could you ask for, really?

A clafoutis is basically a big pancake with fruit in it based on batter like that used for Yorkshire puddings or our old friend the Dutch Baby. You'll need 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 3 tablespoons of ground almonds, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the zest from one orange and one lemon, and a bowl of cherries. (I ran out of lemons after the lemonade extravaganza the other day, so I subbed in a lime and it worked just fine.)

The first step is to make the batter since it needs to sit in the fridge for a few hours before you use it.

Grind the almonds into flour. I have a coffee grinder that I use for spices that works great for this. Sift through the flour with your fingers and take out any big chunks that are still in there. Don't be too fussy about it since toothsome morsels of almond are a great surprise while you're eating.

Mix the dry ingredients and the wet ones in separate bowls.


Then cover and put in the fridge for anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours.

When baking time arrives, heat your oven to 350 and get your pans ready. You can make this in a single dish, or as individual little cakes. The book this came from showed a picture of these clafoutis in 8" skillets. That photo was my whole inspiration for doing this dish, but since I wanted to make individual servings I decided to get my fleet of 6" skillets ready for another culinary excursion. If you're using skillets, put a pat of butter in each one and pop them in the heated oven for about 2 minutes to warm up. Swirl the butter around, and then proceed with assembly. You could also use 6 ceramic ramekins here, or a single 3 cup baking dish. Don't bother heating them first, but do bother buttering them up.

While the oven is heating, prepare your cherries. You'll need a cherry pitter to make this bearable. This is not as specialised a tool as it sounds, since you can also use it for olives. (I know, phew!)

If you do one thing carefully in this whole recipe, this should be it. Go slowly with the pitting and make sure the pit pops out of the bottom of each cherry. It is EXTRA nasty to chomp down on one of these things in the finished dish. Cherry pitters are great at removing pits, but they are not great at keeping cherry juice from flying all around your kitchen. I recommend doing this in a bowl in the sink unless you're a fan of cleaning.

When everything is ready, get your batter out of the fridge. Give it a stir and transfer it to something that can pour well.

Put about 8 or 9 cherries in each pan.

Pour the batter over the cherries. You could try and measure it out, but eye balling it seems to work ok for me.

Put them in the oven for about 45 minutes and voila! (The recipe calls for an hour if you use one big 3 cup baking pan and 40 minutes if you go for 6 ramekins.) I moved the pans around before the last 5 minutes to help the tops brown up evenly.

The book recommends you wait 20 minutes before serving -- I'm sure I didn't wait that long, but they do benefit from a bit of time to settle. Serve in the pan if you like or ease them out onto plates. They are great on their own, but a little whipped cream, ice cream, or maybe a sprinkle of icing sugar would all be great. I prefer a more liquid accompaniment, personally.



  1. This looks wonderful and I heartily approve of the beer choice you selected. Guten Appetit!

  2. Thanks, Paula. I think I may try it with peaches or plums next. Maybe both! And for the beer, I think a Schneider Weisse will hit the spot. Cheers!

    (I'm anonymous because my stupid comment thing doesn't work anymore!) :D

  3. It was really good Daddy!!!!!!!!!!